Wednesday 13 November 2019

The Punt: Harvard learns a €150m lesson

Blackstone Group LP CEO Stephen Schwarzman sits for an interview with Bloomberg Television at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, NY, Friday September 28, 2012.
Blackstone Group LP CEO Stephen Schwarzman sits for an interview with Bloomberg Television at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, NY, Friday September 28, 2012.

Readers of the Punt who might be fretting over whether they made the right choices on their CAO/CAS college applications might breath a little bit easier after reading on.

US billionaire Steve Schwarzman, pictured below, whose Blackstone Group is the lynchpin investor in Eircom and owns a clutch of other big assets here, didn't get his first choice.

Still, he eventually even had the pleasure of hearing his dream college admit they got it wrong.

Apparently a former dean of admissions at Harvard College contacted Schwarzman, after he made it big, to admit the error.

"He wrote me a few years ago saying, 'I guess we got that one wrong'," Schwarzman told Bloomberg Television.

"My number-one choice was Harvard and I didn't get in," he said.

He went to Yale instead, and coincidentally, it's to his former college that he's making a €150m donation to fund a student centre - called the Schwarzman Center - that will include performance, exhibition, meeting, dining and gathering spaces.

Not so smart after all, Harvard.

Take the  challenge

The runners and riders for this year's Business Journalist Association's Corporate Challenge in aid of the Dublin Simon Community are saddling up.

The Punt hears that some of the country's brainiest, and most competitive, companies have teams devouring bootlegged packs of Trivial Pursuits questions in a desperate effort to gain an edge.

The stakes are high. Its not just bragging rights. Global media and private equity firms are now circling last year's winner, TV3, undoubtedly drawn in by the dangerously high levels of intellectual capital at the broadcaster.

Runner up Eircom Wholesale has had a year to plot revenge, and the competition and craic will be as intense as ever at this year's event on May 21.

RTE's Bryan Dobson will once again be quizmaster and will be joined by the Commercial Court's Mr Justice Peter Kelly as adjudicator at the Radisson Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 2. The quiz, where teams are joined by a journalist to fight it out for the glory of being named champion, has raised more than €400,000 for the Simon Community.

For details contact Donal O'Donovan at the Irish Independent and Catherine Walshe at The Reputations Agency.

AIB's vault of art treasures

It turns out that AIB managed to hold onto its valuable collection after the crash, unlike some of their customers.

A major exhibition of Irish art opens at the Mall Galleries in London today, drawing on AIB's collection of paintings, photography, tapestry, sculptures and video.

Entitled The Art of a Nation, the selected works have been billed as celebrating the "rich story" of Irish art from 1880 to the present day.

The works range from 19th century painters such as Aloysius O'Kelly and Sir John Lavery to Limerick painter Sean Keating, and Dublin painters Jack B Yeats and Paul Henry.

The exhibition will be opened by Arts Minister Heather Humphreys.

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is supporting the exhibition.

"This shared collection from AIB and the Crawford Gallery is of considerable depth and quality, spanning 125 years of Irish art and encompassing works from so many of our greatest artists," Ms Humphreys said.

"It is also very significant that it is the first major exhibition of Irish art in London for more than three decades."

Irish Independent

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